Gaetan Barrette talks tough with radiologists in fee dispute

Health minister Gaetan Barrette is promising a fee dispute with radiologists over government-paid ultrasounds performed in private clinics will be resolved within the next week.

But he's also vowing he will not back down in the face of what he calls immoral negotiating tactics.

The dispute has led to some ultrasound appointments being delayed or even cancelled, and Barrette is accusing the radiologists of holding patients hostage.

At the centre of the dispute is money — Barrette wants to pay radiologists $70 for each ultrasound in a private clinic.  The radiologists want $100.

Barrette says the radiologists go to the bargaining table, but aren't willing to actually negotiate.

"They are not negotiating," Barrette told CJAD 800 News. "We always, ourselves, come up at the table with a number of proposals, modifications, and so on. There's been not one single proposal or modification coming from them."

Barrette says if the radiologists don't sit down to negotiate a fee, he could take matters into his own hands.

"This is not a negotiation process that is proper, and at the end of the day, the law allows me to impose a fee, and it might happen that way," he says.